There are many reasons to learn how to make your own flour including superior nutrition. Once flour is ground, it loses nutrition quickly. And having ancient grain flour is another great reason. The varieties of flour you can grind are endless!
Why make homemade flour?
There are many great reasons to make homemade flour. The freshness and flavor is number one. Oxygen reduces flavor and degrades the fatty acids in the flour making it less nutritious as it gets more oxygen. In addition, there is so much variety involved in grinding your own. There is one basic kind of wheat that is used for modern flour production today. But there are so many wonderful grains and types of wheat to explore. We love to grind einkorn grain into flour. But, just like freshly ground coffee beans, freshly ground flour gives off the best flavor and the possibilities and types of beans are innumerable just like the varieties of wheat berries are. Some grains are earthy, some sweet, some more nutty in flavor and some more tender in texture.
You get a more consistent flour and in turn a more consistent bread when you use the same wheatberries or other grains over and over again for the same recipe. And it’s far less expensive to grind your own flour than to buy it, especially if you want a less common flour. Unmilled grains can be stored for decades if properly stored, but flour goes bad quickly. It’s great to have a steady supply of fresh flour that you can make in a snap.
What do you need to make your own flour?
All you need to grind gorgeous flavorful flour is whole grains such as wheat berries and a grain mill. You can use a high powered blender like BlendTec or Vitamix. You can use your kitchen aid mixer and a special attachment to grind flour as well. Or you can buy a dedicated grain mill. There are hand cranked mills. It would be great to have one, but it takes a lot of labor to run it and ain’t nobody got time for that (or at least my family doesn’t). So having an electric one is great for us. My wife can grind up enough flour to make a dozen loaves of bread in about 20 minutes or so.
There are two kinds of mills, a burr mill, and an impact plate mill. A burr mill crushes grains between two plates or stones. They grind a little slower than impact mills, but they produce less heat (which can destroy nutrition and gluten in flour). An impact mill has two interlocking cylinders that spin within one another while grains pass through. They are less expensive and work great. But they don’t make as fine textured flour as the burr mill can. We have an impact Nutrimill grinder at our house.
For the wheat berries you have to know if you want hard or soft wheat. Hard wheat has more gluten and is great for making recipes that use yeast. Soft wheat is lighter and softer and is good for cookies, cakes, and muffins. It makes great biscuits too. It gives you less of that wheaty quality that a lot of people don’t care for.
Red wheat berries are darker and taste nuttier. White berries are lighter in color and produce a lighter bread. We like red wheat for the richer flavor.
So where do we get wheat berries from? There are lots of places. You can get them at Walmart. You can get them from Amazon. You can google wheat berries and find a multitude of places. We buy in bulk to get ours. We got to an Amish town about 45 minutes away and they will order us 50 pound bags from Montana. We enjoy supporting local businesses. We live in Oklahoma and there are wheat producers that sell it directly, but it’s several more hour’s drive for us to get across the state. When we can get their wheat, we do it. They also sell gorgeous meat! You can also have 40 pounds of grains shipped from places like bulkfoods.com. They have great products, we just prefer to buy as locally as we can.
How to make homemade flour
Before you mill grain, check it over for chaff or rocks and make sure it’s clean and doesn’t have any mold. If it’s been stored properly, that shouldn’t be a problem. Select the coarseness and turn on the machine. Pour the grain in while it’s running. Make sure to give the machine a break between batches to cool down. This will give you a more nutritious and better tasting flour. Then clean your machine according to the instructions. Make sure you don’t use your mill to grind oily items unless it’s made to. And there you have fluffy fresh wonderful flour!
How to Store Wheat Berries
Get an air tight container and store them there. We like to use gamma seal lids if possible. Store them in a cool dark place if you can like the bottom of a closet. Like I said before, if you store them well, they can last for 20-30 years.
We just grind what we need for baking that day, but if you have some leftover, store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it in an air-tight container.
And be prepared for the most delicious bread you’ve ever eaten! You’ll never be the same. Bread day around here is like a holiday!
For more ideas about ancient grains, check these out:
- Ancient Grains Pizza
- Are Ancient Grains Healthy
- Ancient Grains Granola Recipe
- Ancient Grains Salad Recipes
- What are Ancient Grains?
- Ancient Grains Bread Recipe